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borne down by the keen perception of deficiencies and failings, that he was ready to cry out, “I am a worm, and no man.” This lowliness was manifest in his intercourse with his fellow-men. His unobtrusive modesty was acknowledged in the world, and in the church. To both he afforded a living demonstration that the spirit of true Christianity is congenial with its precepts; that there is such a thing as “in honour preferring one another;" that there is a love that “ vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly ;” and that this heavenly grace dwells with him who, like itself, is born from above.
He was distinguished by stability of principle and uniformity of deportment. He appears to have made, at the beginning, a fair estimate of what he would lose or gain by a life devoted to God. He “counted the cost” before he “began to build ;” and then, without hesitation, became a decided follower of Christ, resolving at all hazards to adhere firmly to what he believed to be right, and to be steady in his attachment to that church with which he had united himself. The vacillation, feebleness, and uncertainty of character and purpose, which merit the censure, as they exhibit the inferiority, of Reuben,
—“Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel,” - Mr. Berger never approached. Having chosen the Lord as his heritage, he was
« Firm, as an iron pillar strong,
And steadfast as a wall of brass."
Zeal for the interests of our common Christianity, and devotion to the glory of God, were among his shining excellencies. When God renews the hearts of sinners, He does a work of great love, not only to them, but to the world. The regenerate have the spirit of sincere and active benevolence, and are accordingly led by a motive of exbaustless energy to seek the highest interests of men. They bear the image of Him who went about doing good. The affection which predominated in the breast of Mr. Berger, next to a supreme love to God, was, compassion to the souls of men ; a compassion evinced by zealous and unwearied labours for their good. On all occasions he was ready to assist in carrying on the cause of God, both by his personal exertions, and by his liberal contributions. Wishes which cost nothing-pity which expires on the lips-he never substituted for warm charity. He kept a purse for God. Here, in obedience to His command, he deposited “the first-fruits of all his increase ;” and these were sacred to His service, as in His providence He should call for them. No pitiful evasions were admitted when a fair demand was made upon the hallowed store. Mr. Berger's benevolence, while it was discreet, was bounded only by his means, which were greatly extended by a prudent economy; and in his removal from us the cause of religion and humanity has lost one of its most ready and liberal supporters.
In the earlier part of his religious career,-having walked “in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost,” for about five years,--he was fully convinced that it was his duty to engage in
occasional pulpit-work. Constrained by the love of Christ, he became a Wesleyan Local Preacher about the year 1836. The engagements of this office he continued to discharge with acceptance and evident success, until an affection of the throat obliged him to desist. His aid in the public prayer-meetings was invaluable. By habits of punctuality and orderly arrangement, he was enabled also to secure, amid very numerous engagements, a portion of leisure in every week, which he devoted to the visitation of the sick,-a work in which he greatly delighted. The Hackney Wesleyan Tract Society was kept in vigorous operation for years, mainly through his exertions and beneficence. The erection of the beautiful and commodious chapel, in Richmond-road, he regarded with lively interest; and bis munificent donations, both at the time of erection and at the close of his life, gave ample proof how greatly he “loved the habitatiun of” the Lord's “house, and the place where” His “honour dwelleth.”
In the year 1836 he was likewise appointed to the important and responsible office of Class-Leader. Upon its duties he entered with great fear and trembling; and, being persuaded that his usefulness herein would mainly depend, through the blessing of God, upon his personal experience, vigilance, and fidelity, he manifested a ceaseless anxiety to be a pattern in all things worthy of imitation, and to watch over the church-members committed to his care“ as one that must give account.” Nothing afforded him greater joy than their spiritual prosperity. He considered them as his “hope," and “crown of rejoicing,” “in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
For nearly eight years he was an able and faithful Steward of the Hackney Society. In all meetings of church-officers, a calm, mild, and amiable temper peculiarly distinguished him; and this was maintained on various occasions of debate and difficulty. The benignity and affection which beamed forth in his deportment, epdeared him to all his coadjutors. In consistency, diligence, promptitude, kindness, and fidelity, as an office-bearer in the church, Mr. Berger was a pattern worthy of all imitation.
We now come to the mournful close of his activity and service on earth. As he had borne a living, so he was enabled to bear a dying, testimony to the truth and excellence of the Gospel of Christ. During several months before his death, his strength was evidently impaired ; and in August, 1847, he paid a visit to Scotland, in hope that cessation from business and change of air would contribute to his restoration. Of this, however, he and his friends were disappointed. On his return his health still rapidly declined. A visit to Brighton was then recommended; but this also failed to be of any essential service. Up to this period, though his friends entertained serious fears, be seemed not to be apprehensive of immediate danger. In a letter to his Pastor,-dated Brighton, November 1st, 1817,-he writes : “I cannot give you a very good account, as I am now weaker than when I came here. I hope, however, by the Lord's blessing, I may soon regain some of my strength.--I have felt it a time for nuch prayer in every respect, both as it regards myself, my friends, and the cause of God; and can assure you that Hackney has not been forgotten. I wish I could come amongst you all again ; but patience seems to be my present lesson. I still beg an interest in your prayers, as also in those of all my Christian friends."
“I thank God,” he writes at a later date, “ that, during my indisposition, I have much comfort in pleading the precious promises of His sacred word : and, while deeply feeling how unfaithful and most unworthy I am, I think of Him who is infinitely worthy, and bless God for His 'unspeakable gift.'”
On his return home, his strength was greatly prostrated. In a conversation with his Pastor, (after expressing his ardent desire for the prosperity of the cause of God in Hackney,) he observed that his affliction had been sanctified to him, and said, “I have returned home a better Christian than when I left: I have had time for reflection and prayer. I am very unworthy; but my trust is in the atonement of my Saviour: I rest in Him, and have peace.” He now appeared to be fast sinking under the power of disease. On Christmas-day, at his special request, his Pastor called upon him ; and he then expressed his conviction that his “race was nearly run.” After giving his opinion on certain questions involving the welfare of the Society in Hackney, he said, “I am a dying man: God bless you, and the cause !” From this time he rapidly sunk, and all hope of his recovery was extinguished.
On Monday, the 3d of January, 1848, his Pastor had an interview with him. He was perfectly conscious ; but, as is not upfrequently the case with the holiest men at the close of life, his soul was sorely harassed by the tempter. The enemy appeared to be making the last and most powerful assault. No doubt this was wisely permitted, that the victory of grace might be the more signal and glorious. So it was : the dying saint was triumphant through Him who loved him. His language at this memorable time was a sermon to his Minister's heart and conscience. He said,-“O do not let men trifle with religion and their souls ! ” “ It is a solemn thing to die! O that I had been more faithful!” Death-bed sayings--the last wordsuttered when the icy hand of death is smiting, and eternity is rising to view in all its magnitude-deserve to be heard, and heard with attention. Mr. Berger felt dying to be solemn work. But his faith had fixed him on the Rock of Ages, and the billows of affliction were unable to move him : over him the grave had no victory, and the second death no power.
On Tuesday, the 4th of January, a friend observed to him, “ We meet once again on earth, before we meet in heaven.” He replied, “ Yes ; amen!” She added,
“ How shall we sing and triumph there,
Our months of pain and woe !
Through whom we met below !”
He answered by an ascription of praise. His dear parents and sister he commended, with affection and solemnity never to be forgotten, to the everlasting arms; saying, emphatically, to the latter,“The Lord bless you! The Lord keep you! The Lord guide you !" His beloved wife (who had watched over him, throughout his illness, with intense feelings of affection) inquired, “ Are you happy?" He replied, “Yes, happy !” One who shared his solemn joy repeated,
“A day without night We shall feast in His sight,
And eternity seem as a day.” “Is William near ?” he inquired, referring to his brother. “Yes," replied his dear wife : “but Jesus is nearer, and that is better.” “O) yes ! much better,” he rejoined at once, with deep feeling.
On Wednesday morning, January 5th, his venerable aunt, drawing near to him, said,—“A happy conqueror through the blood of the Lamb!
'Yet a season, and we know
Happy entrance shall be given.'” He smiled, and whispered, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! Lord, save! Lord, help !”-A friend repeated,
“With ease our souls through death shall glide
Into their paradise;
Triumphant through the skies.” “ Amen! Amen!” he rejoined, with a sweet smile of confident expectation. An hour or two later, addressing his sister-in-law, he said, “ Jesus is here ; I know-I feel it !” The next morning he said, “ Jesus is coming! I see Him on His throne !” A short interval elapsed, and then he exclaimed, “He will make me one with Him !” During the evening of the 6th, while his aunt was repeating the promises of God, addressed to a suffering church, he smiled, and said, “ I long to get home!” In a low tone of voice he added, “My God and Saviour! How sweet He is! How sweet my Saviour is !”
His end evidently drew nigh, and his sufferings were intense ; but he exclaimed with the greatest ardour of feeling, lifting up his hands, “ Happy ! happy! I see angels coming, and the realms of bliss !” And, again,—“God is love! Grace! grace! grace! through the blood of Christ.” “ Heaven! heaven! heaven!” he repeated many times, as if already realising its joys. When he appeared to be suffering great pain, one inquired, “ Are the everlasting arms around you ?” “Yes," he answered : “I am happy, very happy! Jesus is All in all ! ” After a severe paroxysm he said, “After a storm comes a rest. I feel happy. I feel blessed. Happy! happy for ever through Christ!” “God is love: I see the King of glory!” His breathing now grew fainter and shorter till his happy spirit, bursting the clay tenement, was caught up to God, January 7th, 1848. He died in his thirty-seventh year.
“ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright : for the end of that man is peace.”
SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD. “ Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers : for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with darkness ? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."-2 Cor. vi. 14—18.
The subject of this paragraph is, confessedly, of the highest practical interest. To the charms of society few are insensible. Companionship relieves the pressure of grief, and sheds a fresh illumination on scenes of joy. Our very proverbs—which, expressing in brief the judgment of ages, are happily described by an eminent German as “a perennial philosophy”—are full of this sentiment. It cannot be forgotten, that the bliss of Paradise itself was incomplete while Adam walked and worshipped in solitude. But Paradise blooms no longer. The safety and innocence of man's first estate are gone. Earthly pleasures lie on the confines of danger; and the choice of friends has become a matter of unspeakable importance. Happy they whose cherished fellowships, having religion for their basis, promise to survive this vanishing scene of things, and to flourish, perfected and beatified, in immortality!
St. Paul's injunctions and warnings, though addressed to the regenerate, claim to be applied to all who desire to flee from the wrath to come. He speaks, not to the proud Pharisee, who assumes an extraordinary sanctity, and says to his less guilty brother, “ Stand by thyself, come not near to me ; for I am holier than thou ;”—but to the man who shrinks into nothing before apprehended Deity, and yet, without the slightest inconsistency, feels himself bound to be separate from the world ; who is impressed alike with the vanity and the sacredness of the present life ; who is aware of his unworthiness, and of his dignity also. Such a man will not fail to discover, in this strong light, what is the seclusion which the inspired casuist requires, and so amply enforces.
To parry an objection, and at the same time to define our subject, it is necessary at once to fix the sense of the word unbelievers. (Verse 14.) Those who desire to emancipate themselves from an unwelcome restraint, do not fail to remind us of the idolatry, splendid but enormously corrupt, which reigned at Corinth in the apostolic age. They are prompt to observe, also, that the same term is rendered infidel in a subsequent verse ; and, on the whole, they wish to expound the passage as bearing only against alliance with idolaters or blaspheming sceptics. So that, as some have been bold enough to